How to Write an Appendix

Any piece of writing can have an appendix. An appendix is basically a list of different explanations, definitions, citations, and proofs, which provide a better understanding of the written matter. An appendix can be attached to essays, proofs, intellectual works, thesis papers, reports, books, pamphlets or research publications, and basically anything that is written for enlightenment and knowledge. An important preparation before writing an appendix is keeping your research material ready with you.

General Contents of an Appendix

Following are some of the common contents of an appendix. As mentioned above, anything that adds to the knowledge and depth of the write-up, can be included in an appendix. Given below are categories of information that you could use in an appendix:

  • Citations: Sometimes also known as a ‘reference’, a citation is a reference to some other piece of writing. Quotes and statements can also be used as a citation. In some cases, theories, definitions, formulas, ideologies, interpretations and intellectual works can be included too.
  • Questionnaires and Surveys: If you have undertaken a specified questionnaire or survey to add credibility to your writing, then the summarized results of the surveys, illustrations and applied statistical formulas can also be included.
  • News and Press Releases: News and press releases are often used for extensive research, and they can therefore be used in the appendix.
  • Proofs: In case you have included some complex mathematics or have proved or interpreted a fact, including the same in the appendix becomes important.
  • Bibliography: While doing any research, you must have referred to several books. These books or some direct reference from a book can also be used to support a fact mentioned in the write-up.
  • Index of Terms or Glossary: Throughout the write-up, you would be using a significant number of technical words in different manners and contexts. Complex and unknown words can be mentioned in the appendix along with their dictionary meanings to make the entire write-up even better.

Make it a point to systematically store your entire research, as all the aforementioned content which you would be including in the appendix is going be derived from your research material.

Tips on How to Write an Appendix

The step-by-step instructions to write an appendix are given below.

  • The first step is to decide which method you are going to follow. There are two primary methods to write the appendix. The first one is the simultaneous method, and the second one is the non-simultaneous method. You can pick any one of these. In the first method, you have to write the content of the write-up and appendix simultaneously. In the non-simultaneous method, you first finish the write-up and then write the appendix.
  • Based on the different parts or chapters of your write-up, sort out and classify your entire research material into parts or chapters.
  • Next, you can start with the actual write-up. If you come across a phrase, term, a single word, or even a single fact, which has been derived from your research, and if you feel that it needs to be explained in the appendix, put a small numerical or alpha numerical code following the word(s). For example: [1.1] where the first 1 stands for Chapter 1 and the second 1 stands for the 1st term explained. Similarly, your [1.2] would denote the 2nd term explained in the 1st chapter, [2.1] would denote the 1st term explained in the second chapter.
  • Once you are done with this work, add some useful details for reference. In order to explain the numbered phrase/term, write the details, explanations, formulas, definitions or theories in a few short lines in an explanatory language. The explanation should follow the code [1.1]. In this manner, if a person reading your work comes across a difficult word which he/she is not able to understand, then he would look at the code, [1.1], turn to the appendix and read the explanation that follows [1.1] in the appendix.

Follow this format till the end of the write-up. After you are finished with the write-up and the appendix, attach the appendix to the write-up.

by Shashank Nakate

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